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Ron Radosh

Should the U.S. Intervene in Syria? The Debate Continues

June 23rd, 2013 - 2:10 pm

Last week, I presented my own reasons for why I think it is futile to go into Syria. I respect the arguments and analysis of those who favor intervention. I understand their motivations and their frustrations, all the result of our president’s failed policies. I comprehend Elliott Abrams’ analysis, and his argument that “the central fact about the region today is Iran’s use of raw power in Syria, with Russian support.” To counter Iran and Russia, Abrams believes that necessitates arming the rebels and more, and the announcement of a coherent and strong U.S. policy on Iran and Hezbollah. Abrams cites the work of Frederic C. Hof, who believes that we are militarily capable of stepping in without “boots on the ground,” and that we can “destroy and degrade” Assad’s capability without our own forces getting involved. Hof writes: “Syrians are being slaughtered and U.S. friends and allies are suffering the consequences. A family regime supported by terrorists threatens to plunge the region into war as it systematically wrecks the Syrian state.” But he thinks the U.S. can act even without a no-fly zone, which others see as a necessary first step.

For laymen like most readers and me, we can only consider the judgment of the experts, and then try to sort out their arguments and to reach our own conclusions. For now, I still believe intervention is shortsighted and likely to bring even worse results. I agree with my PJM colleague Victor Davis Hanson, who argues the following at National Review Online:

There is no guarantee that American air support or close training might not end up in some sort of American ground presence — the only sure guarantee that so-called moderates might prevail should Assad fall. Of course, any costly intervention would eventually be orphaned by many in the present chorus of interventionists in a manner that we also know well from Iraq. We are told that dealing a blow to Iran and Hezbollah would be a good thing, and no doubt it would be. But in the callous calculus of realpolitik, both seem already to be suffering without U.S. intervention.

And I take serious notice of the admonition of Michael Rubin, who recently returned from a trip through Iraq, where he often goes. Rubin writes that “many Iraqi Shi’ites warned against any support for the Syrian opposition, claiming they were more radical than the Americans realized,” and that they were joined in this analysis by Iraqi Kurds, Christians, and Sunnis. Rubin thus advocates only the use of U.S. air power, which he thinks is sufficient to stop Assad. He argues: “Arming the Syrian rebels is wrong and would gravely undercut U.S. national security.”

With such different perspectives and arguments from those who know the military situation, and what arming the rebels would or would not do, I think it only prudent that the U.S. stay out. As we have seen from other recent examples, the law of unintended consequences has shown that outcomes we expected are more than likely to occur. We must hope for the best, and be prepared for the worst, which it looks like will soon take place.

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Top Rated Comments   
The time has long past come to arm the Kurds.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
"As a result, a new chorus of ardent interventionists has emerged. They have good arguments, and are repulsed about the failure of the Obama administration to use American power for good when it had an opportunity, and the resulting 80,000 or more deaths in Syria that are the result of U.S. inaction."

What good arguments do they offer? In what way will using American power be for the 'good'? For the 'good' of whom? There is no 'good' for the United States coming out of such an ill-considered venture.

And do not label me as a war criminal for the "80,000 or more deaths in Syria that are the result of U.S. inaction." Now, of all inane accusations, I should feel guilty about not intervening in a war among my enemies? Do Tell!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
All Comments   (32)
All Comments   (32)
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Hell no.
If anything, we should back the Russians and let them do the intervening.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The moment we put American boots on the ground in Syria, the civil war will end. That very moment.

Instead of continuing to fight each other, all the Syrians will turn around and start shooting at the US troops.

And, how do we decide to Support :
.. the murdering tyrant, Assad ... or
.. the various groups of murdering, tyranical al Q'aida jihadist
fundamentalists

There are NO Good Guys in Syria.
They ALL Hate our Guts
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The 80,000 dead in Syria are not on us. I can't tell if you're just citing this as someone else's belief or that you are stating it as your own position. Either way, it shouldn't go unchallenged. Of the few things we can be sure of when it comes to the Middle East is that there really are no good guys. And we will regret helping whatever side we do pick. If we were going to do anything we should probably consider providing just enough assistance to keep the conflict alive so that our enemies (and near enemies) continue to have to provide resources in response.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This "Affaire Syria" should be the only example sensible people need to emphasize that it's past time for us Americans [Ameddicans] to stand aside and do the coat-holding .....for a change.

Why is it so difficult for the social worker "do-gooders" and militarist interventionists alike to understand that there's nothing....nothing...the we Americans [Ameddicans] can do to alter centuries upon centuries of traditional Muslim intra-butchery?

[USAID merely ends up in a few out-of-county bank accounts. That's a constant.]
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
read......"out of country"....
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No matter who eventually prevails in Syria, America loses: if Assad retains power with Russkie support, he will continue to hate and oppose American interests in the region - if the AL-QAEDA REBELS win, they will still hate America and plan to kill us at every opportunity. WHERE DO WE WIN?

I served 1 tour in Iraq and 2 in Afghanistan. I am a 46-years-young cripple due to my wounds and have to deal with the incompetent, racist, anti-American caregivers at the VA for my medical treatment. I do not wish for one single American soldier-sailor-airmen or Marine to share my fate for the sole purpose of defending some pi$$ant terrorists where we as a nation gain absolutely NOTHING for spilling more precious American blood.

God Bless America....Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
That's the problem: It's a lose - lose situation. The only good outcome is to spare American lives, money and time by letting it alone. If the winners want a war with us, we'll deal with that when it happens.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The thing is most of the time in foreign affairs the choice is often between bad and worst. In Syria this is not the case, there is no bad choice both are worse.
We had a window of opportunity when this revolt happened, but that window has long since closed.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Offer all Christians who wish to leave Syria asylum in the United States...then let the mooslims fight it out among themselves for as long as they wish.

Remember BENGHAZI!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No. Unless you plan on occupying and nation building for the next 2-3 centuries. We weren't willing to that for Iraq or the Afghans, why on Earth would we do it in Syria? Stay out.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
No. Let the Islamists kill themselves, the more the merrier.
In any case, we are begging the Talibans for peace in Afghanistan, losing a winnable war. We snatched defeat from victory in Iraq, courtesy of our Dearest Dear Leader. Hey, we were even afraid to rescue our ambassador from an excitable mob. What business do we have in another Islamist country except to get our troops killed?

Let's be fair though, our Dearest Dear Leader is doing really really well defeating enemies on his enemies list. He is doing it without firing a shot, he uses the NSA and the IRS to blackmail them to defeat.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
If I hear "we're fighting for [ our/their ] freedom, democracy, blah blah blah".....I'm gonna PUKE !!!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
The time has long past come to arm the Kurds.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Kurds, Assyrians (not Syrians), Anatolian Greeks, Copts, South Sudanese—They are the ones we should be giving billions in aid to.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Start with the Christians. They're closer to you in their values than any Muslim and they are the most immediate victims of the New Order in the ME.

The Kurds could be the strategic key in any future conflict as their land stretches between Iran, Iraq, Syria and Turkey. Their future cooperation depends on which component of their identity will gain primacy - the nationalist Kurdish component that wants independence and self-determination, or the Islamic component where hatred for the infidel is greater than love for oneself or one's children. For now it seems the national component is more important, but you can never know with Muslims - they can always re-Islamize. One day they're your best pal, then the next day they pull a gun you gave them and put a bullet you gave them in your head.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Bingo!
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I'm so tired of hearing about Europeans and post-WW I. Sure, they drew lines, but nothing has been stopping the actual countries from drawing new ones. Do they have to obey some commandment to honor these drawn borders forever? No.

Syria for a short while merged with Iraq, Jordan took over the West Bank. They could've made themselves into any nations they wanted.

And when will these countries whose people I don't want coming to America start acting like the equals the Left claims they are? These are not people fit to be Americans, but only to fail within any social compact.

And what growing power for Iran? They've been stymied at every turn and if Assad wins, it's back where things were before. And Syria was kicked out Lebanon before that.

People in America don't understand how much the Shia and Sunnis hate each other, though it's mostly on the Sunni side. Yesterday 4 minority Shia were lynched and more than 30 injured in Cairo's Giza suburb.

The Shia see Sunni's as holdovers from Arab colonialism. The Shia prefer the flexibility to have their own version of Islam, one more suited to their original indigenous cultures, rather than totally beholden to Mecca and Al-Ahzar in Cairo that is overly Arabized.

Turkey, S. Arabia and Egypt are always blathering about Western interference. Well, let them deal with Syria if they're so damned noble. The fact is, there's riots in Cairo and Istanbul, and S. Arabia are deathly afraid of antagonizing Iran. Without the U.S., all of S. Arabia would be an Iranian province, and they know it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Sure, they drew lines, but nothing has been stopping the actual countries from drawing new ones.
Problem is nearly all those countries are ruled by Mulsim-Arabs, whereas drawing more natural lines with regards to ethnicity and religion could have allowed non-Arabs and non-Muslims to defend themselves. As things are today, yes, the countries can redraw the lines, but non-Arabs and non-Muslims divided between those countries can do nothing to change their fate.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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